Friday, 14 November 2008

Tyler Florence Fridays Debuts!

This is the debut week of Tyler Florence Fridays!

A positive, easy-going cooking group, started by two wonderful friends, Deb of Kahakai Kitchen, and Megan of My Baking Adventures, and little old me! After weeks of daring each other to start a cooking group around Tyler's recipes, we have decided to do it together.

The focus is on having fun and discovering Tyler's recipes together. Each week you choose what TF recipe you want to cook, have fun with it and let us know about it. We post a round-up every Friday evening, see the Tyler Florence Fridays website for details. Don't have a TF book yet? Don't worry, there are links on the site to lots of his online recipes. I guarantee you will be collecting his books before too long...

Come join us, we would love to have you!

Soo, what did I make for the first week? I had some lovely hot Italian sausages and was in the mood for pasta. I found a recipe that fit the bill in Tyler's new book, Dinner at My Place.

Penne with Spicy Italian Sausage, Cream, Tomatoes, and Peas.
4 links spicy Italian sausages
1 pound dried penne
Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 28oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups peas, blanched
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. Place the sausages in a roasting pan and roast in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly golden and just cooked. Cut sausage at an angle into bite-size pieces.

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until tender yet firm (al dente).

Set a large, heavy-based pot over medium heat and add a 2-count of olive oil (about 2 tbsp). Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent and fragrant. Add tomatoes and basil; season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, then fold in cream and continue to simmer until rich and creamy. Add sausage, blanched peas, and cheese. Fold together and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the flavours to come together. Serve topped with a shower of cheese and garnish with basil.

Tyler's tip* To blanch the peas, submerge them into boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes (1 minute for frozen peas), then strain them and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process. Strain them again and set aside.
Results - The dish was just what the family needed, trooping home in the dark, windy rain. It was satisfying and flavourful and so fragrant with all that basil.
I did need more time for roasting the sausages, probably due to their size. This was no problem at all as I had the time to spare.
The sauce was wonderful, I loved the intense basil. I did use whole wheat penne, which I probably wouldn't next time. I found the whole wheat noodles stood up too much to the sauce. A milder white penne would be best in this dish. I might save the whole wheat for pasta salads.
We served it with a Cab/Shiraz cross, very lovely dinner indeed.
Check out the round-up on Friday evening at the Tyler Florence Fridays website.